User Account Control (UAC) is a security feature introduced by Microsoft in Windows Vista and streamlined in Windows 7 and 8. It prevents the installation of certain applications and changes to system-wide settings unless authorized by a user with administrative privileges.
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Although not nearly as intrusive as it was in Vista, UAC can still be an annoyance to some users who need to frequently install software or modify system settings. If you’re willing to accept the risks, you can disable UAC in Windows 8 with the following steps.
First, launch Control Panel and go to System and Security > Administrative Tools > Local Security Policy. On the left side of the Local Security Policy window, find “Security Options” under “Local Policies.”
Scroll down until you see a list of items labeled “User Account Control.” Here, you can either disable UAC completely by double-clicking on each item and choosing “Disabled” or you can customize how it operates by, for example, disabling UAC prompts for software installations.
Alternatively, you can disable most UAC prompts while still leaving certain portions of UAC enabled. To do this, go to Control Panel > User Accounts and Family Safety > User Accounts. Choose “Change User Account Control Settings” and then slide the bar on the left to the lowest position. While this method completely disabled UAC in Windows 7, prompts for certain situations, such as when an application attempts to modify system settings, still appear in Windows 8. Hence, the need for a way to completely disable UAC with the steps above.
Two caveats: First, due to the way that Microsoft structured the app environment in Windows 8, disabling UAC via the first method will prevent any Metro style apps from launching. This may be a major issue for some users, although it is likely that any experienced user willing to risk disabling UAC won’t be running many Metro apps.
Second, it is important to reiterate that disabling UAC introduces significant vulnerabilities to Windows. The Windows OS has made great strides recently in terms of security, and UAC is a large reason for its progress. Only users who are fully aware of the risks and willing to accept the consequences should consider disabling UAC.